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Cate’s Four Corners: A Regional South Australia Itinerary

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BLOG | Part of our Innovative Itineraries series, this itinerary was created by Senior Travel Designer Cate Harley. Discover the best of far-flung South Australia—accompanied by locals who live and breathe the landscape.

At a Glance

This customised tour was created by one of our Senior Travel Designers, Cate Harley, for clients requesting an immersive South Australian journey. Stitched together via private air travel, this voyage was fashioned for travellers wishing to venture off South Australia’s beaten track, engage more deeply with locals, venture to more remote landscapes, and engage with Indigenous culture. This itinerary is interwoven with Cate’s own love of history, designed to invite a range of kaleidoscopic perspectives to each region. Cate’s natural curiosity is threaded throughout this tapestry, with her careful selection of diverse vistas and landscapes ranging from truly unknown to hidden in plain sight.

South Australia offers nearly one million square kilometres of spectacular destinations and places to visit, with landscape extending from arid red outback and striking blue coastline, to lush green vineyards with stunning and plentiful varietals. A merge of the historic, agricultural, and contemporary, South Australia’s cultural blend offers depth and boasts a rich palate.

Take a deep dive into South Australia’s diversities with this fully-hosted, custom-made intensive itinerary taking you to all four corners of this idiosyncratic state.

“My clients wanted to be kept busy, but not in a manic way. They wanted to engage deeply with locals and really get a feel for what it was like to live in some of these far-flung areas”

Cate Harley, Senior Travel Designer
Destination 1:

The Riverland

Above the Sturt Highway, approximately 130 kilometres west of Mildura, the Murray River crosses three separate states—New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia—in quick succession. Your first stop is nestled within a bend in the riverbank at The Frames, a luxury retreat in the charming, orchard-lined town of Paringa. Delivered here by your hosts—the owners of the retreat, husband and wife duo, lifelong locals, and knowledgeable guides of the region, this is a fitting first stop to your South Australian odyssey.

Three secluded, romantic retreats are on offer with luxe trimmings. Chic, modern and truly comfortable, each design showcases the fertile river landscape. Amenities include individual swimming pools, private spas, and indulgent outdoor tubs, all for exclusive use in your retreat.

The Riverland is a premier natural and agricultural spot, and encourages its guests to adopt the leisurely pace of life along the river. Sunset river cruises, National Park nature walks, and local wine and produce tastings are facilitated through your hosts’ commitment to riverland hospitality. Food is part of the culture, and your stay includes a private on-site chef to deliver gourmet meals made from local produce.

After a few nights, your next destination awaits. You will be picked up by your next guide and driven north—all you need to do is sit back and relax as riverland melts away into scrub and sprawl, and the landscape around you grows old and vast.

Destination 1: The Riverland has accommodation for three nights at The Frames, Paringa.

Destination 2:

Flinders Ranges

Located some 450km north of Adelaide, the Flinders Ranges is the largest mountain range in South Australia. This primordial space, featuring fossils still buried amongst river red gums and native pines, breathes with a stoic dignity. With stark reds and pastel blues, the landscape features a natural amphitheatre and National Park, with scenes often depicted in the canvases of colonial Australia.

Nestled within the heart of this landscape, accommodation at luxe lodge Gum Tree Station, and/or starlit glamping at Arkaba Conservancy offer panoramic and topographic views teamed with luxury touches in an immersive outback experience.

Your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the region, connecting with the patchwork of idiosyncratic locals including pastoralists, conservationists, historians, and pub owners alike. With their guidance, explore the landscape via vehicle, bike, or helicopter; uncover the history of ancient Ediacaran seabeds and fossils, learn about the flora and fauna of the region, hike, bike, and stargaze under the Milky Way’s blanket, or simply relax while enjoying your hosts’ rustic hospitality.

There’s no need for a map—your explorations will take you off the beaten path and into the country that only locals know. There is ample time to reflect on the space during your stay, as well as upon departure as you head further north into Australia’s centre, guided by dramatic landscapes, striking colours, and spectacular night skies.

Destination 2: Flinders Ranges has accommodation for four nights at Gum Creek Station, and two nights at Arkaba Conservancy campsites for six nights total.

Destination 3:

Outback South Australia

The vastness of outback SA forms an awe-inspiring experience, with remarkable Indigenous history, colonial stories, and dramatic landscapes. Small townships scattered like seeds along traditional Aboriginal trade routes dot the landscape and have remarkably deep roots.

Strip back the mysteries of the outback by delving deep into the landscape. Tour via air safari with a local pilot, and enjoy the privilege of an exclusive landing at Madigan Gulf on Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre.  Develop your historical understanding with a private tour of Indigenous Australian cultural sites with a traditional Adnyamathanha guide at Nepabunna, visit over sixty artesian springs of Dalhousie on the western fringe of the Simpson Desert, and marvel at the infamous Dig Tree at Innamincka on Cooper Creek.

Quirky local accommodation will be your base for this greater exploration: relax in the rustic hospitality of Camel House cottage along the main street of remote William Creek, permanent population of 10, and stay underground in cool ‘dugout’ rooms at the Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy, carved into the very earth itself.

There is just enough time to experience the many layers of outback history before you’ll fly West, landing at one of the last stops before the Nullarbor Plain.

Destination 3: Outback South Australia has accommodation for two nights at Camel House, William Creek Hotel, and two nights at Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy for four nights total.

Destination 4:

Eyre Peninsula

The Eyre Peninsula is where the extremes of South Australia meet: granite peaks in Gawler Ranges National Park to the North, the treeless stretch of the Nullarbor Plain to the West, fertile agricultural land to the East, and the carved coastline and pristine shores of Coffin Bay and Lincoln National Park to the South.

Reflecting diverse offerings, a range of accommodation is available: sleep under stars at Kangaluna Camp in the midst of Gawler Ranges National Park, owned by locals who know the area inside and out, or kick back with sunset cocktails at superb, private access water front accommodation at South Point Beach House.

Between national park and ocean, nature is the shining star of this region. On land, there is vibrant birdlife and Australia’s best koala experience. In the water, there’s guided swimming with sealions, dolphins, and whales, or with great white sharks (from within the safety of a cage, of course). Enjoy abundant fishing on exclusive, private-access beaches, a beachside salmon cook-up, and high-end oyster shucking straight from the water. A veritable wealth of food, wine, cultural and culinary delights are on offer, while your local guides are the threads to keep you connected to this popular destination. 

While this peninsula showcases immense diversity, there’s always more to discover—and to the South-East, resting out at sea, your next destination is visible across the waters on a clear day. Only a short charter flight away, Kangaroo Island awaits.

Destination 4: Eyre Peninsula has accommodation for four nights at Kangaluna Camp, Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris, and five nights at South Point Beach House, Port Lincoln for nine nights total.

Destination 5:

Kangaroo Island

Iconic, community-spirited, all while sharing an intimate connection to its striking and unique environment, Kangaroo Island knows exactly how special it is. Upon arrival at Kingscote Airport, you’ll be shown around by a passionate local, who lives and breathes Kangaroo Island as easily as its sea-breeze air.  

Luxuriate in the space and tranquillity of Oceanview Eco Villas. Two North-facing villas in a rural setting, and a fully hosted experience from the owners themselves makes this the perfect, eco-friendly base from which to experience the island’s exceptional ecosystem.

The perfect place to get up close and personal with the environment, Kangaroo Island’s nature activities range from non-obtrusive appreciation, all the way to citizen scientist encounters with echidnas, birds, and aquaculture. For human-made endeavours, tour some of Kangaroo Island’s agricultural offerings including olive oil, fruits, fresh seafood, honey, and boutique gin. Explore the natural environment’s beautiful coastline, walking trails, and iconic landmarks such as Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch, and Cape du Couedic, with your guide providing a comprehensive, authentic ecological interpretation of the land.  

Arriving back in Adelaide after a brief flight, hop into your private luxury vehicle for a scenic tour down the south coast, through sprawling Fleurieu Peninsula wine country, to where fresh and salt waters meet at Goolwa.

Destination 5: Kangaroo Island has accommodation for six nights at Oceanview Eco Villas, Kangaroo Island.

Destination 6:

The Coorong

The serene, seaside township of Goolwa is the final destination of the Murray River’s 2,500km journey. Known as the Coorong, this is where fresh water merges with saline, before sighing out through the Murray Mouth into the Southern Ocean, where the next stop is Antarctica. An extensive lagoon ecosystem, the Coorong is home to abundant marine and bird life, and is characterised by wild seas and white sand beaches covered in dunes and wetlands, all embedded with Ngarrindjeri culture, history, and life.

A fusion of history and contemporary luxury, River’s End Retreat is a fully hosted, tranquil retreat upon the final bend in the Murray. Fully hosted by third generation custodians, the restored 1854 Younghusband cottage offers homecooked meals, locals’ knowledge, and spectacular company for your stay.

Cruise to the Mouth of the Murray River and tread upon the ever-moving sand hills on one of Australia’s longest beaches. Local guides will share bush tucker that the local Ngarrindjeri people have used for centuries, plucked straight from the earth, while towards the town there are award-winning distilleries, restaurants, and wineries to explore.

The perfect spot for a weekend stay, further exploration through the sprawling hills and rolling vineyards of the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula is certain to satisfy. It’s only a small blink before you find yourself in the equally dynamic wine country and historic Adelaide Hills.

Destination 6: The Coorong has accommodation for two nights at River’s End Retreat, Goolwa.

Destination 7:

Adelaide Hills

Ⓒ Jonty Paterson

Easily accessible and with much on offer, the Adelaide Hills curve around to the East and form the eye-catching backdrop of Adelaide City. With a plethora of wineries, incredible views of hills and valleys, and European-style townships, this destination is popular amongst locals and visitors alike.

New luxury retreat, Sequoia at Mount Lofty House, boasts panoramic views of the stunning landscape and is the perfect stop to finish your South Australian venture. This luxury lodge delivers personalised service, fine food and wine, relaxation after hands-on touring, meaning you’ll be satisfied every moment of your stay.

Just a 20-minute drive away is the vibrant capital Adelaide itself, filled with food, art, and bustling culture that is perfect for touring. Head behind the scenes of many institutions even locals haven’t visited, including the iconic R.M. Williams factory, a paired wine lunch at the award-winning Magill Estate, and exclusive, invite-only access to a private collection of South Australian museum artefacts. The internationally-acclaimed Barossa Valley is also easily accessible for touring from here, meaning that the only limit to your stay in the Adelaide Hills is your imagination.

Destination 7: Adelaide Hills has accommodation for three nights at Sequoia, Mount Lofty House.

Why do you love this itinerary?

“My passion is history and I am drawn to the vast landscapes and the diversity of vistas in this itinerary. I am awed by a time not so long ago when people didn’t know what was over the next hill, and the tragedy this can bring. I wanted to bring indigenous wisdom into the journey so the clients could view South Australia through several lenses. Any trip that encapsulates deep connections with locals and such a diversity of environments is bound to be exceptional”

Cate Harley, Senior Travel Designer

Where to next?

Ranging from majestic rivers to standalone saline lakes, guided tours through earth to sky to sea—South Australia offers a kaleidoscopic diversity of experiences spread across its four corners. With so much to explore, this itinerary merely scratches the surface of South Australia’s offerings.

What part of this region calls to you? What’s your ideal destination? Be sure to let us know.

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Call an Australian luxury travel designer at The Tailor on: +61 (0)8 8354 4405

Australian Hand-Crafted Journeys

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